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Thread: Running on empty

  1. #1
    happy to be her Sarah Doepner's Avatar
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    Running on empty

    I keep saying I love my transition and that I'm happy with my life. While it's true as far as how I feel about my identity these days, that same transition has been coupled with other events that are running my well of resilience dry from time to time. I was a partner, the problem solver, the resource willing and usually able to help others. Since my career ended 12 years ago and my wife passed away 8 years back and my children have grown into independent adults and my friends still all have their spouses and families to attend to, I've become isolated.

    I've been filling up time pursuing my long awaited transition, dealing with other medical and financial issues and attempting to squeeze purpose from activities that just don't match or even exist in my current life. I knew in advance that moving on with transition I'd be limiting my potential for relationships that had at least some emotional intimacy, but went ahead anyway. All those traditional sources that could recharge my spirit have been drying up and Covid hasn't helped with any of that either. With no feedback or emotional reward coming back to refresh me I've been draining that well of resilience and love. Recently I've found at the bottom of that well little more than frustration and tears.

    So it's not all rainbows and puppies and sparkles, but that was never the promise anyway. The promise was things would be different and the most critical aspect of my life would change for the better, at least for my internal consumption. But now I'm having to adjust and learn new skills, attitudes, strengths and vulnerabilities. I'm reaching out to new others and admitting I can't do it all on my own any longer. Partly because I'm old and partly because there is so much I no longer understand about the world and have to admit my old skills no longer suffice. I still have resources, people who support and love me and the ability to think through (sometimes overthink) my situation and I hope this marks the low place. Particularly since it's not all that low, just a time where I need to assess and recalibrate before moving on.
    Sarah
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.

  2. #2
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Hi Sarah,

    I know that loneliness pit. Been there and working to climb out of it. My transition has gone fine with a few issues that have been or are being overcome by time. However, I still want a close friend for intimacy, mental, emotional and physical, whatever physical means at my age and mindset! In my case I still have some wonderful friends that I met as I discovered me and then became me permanently.

    But I need that other type of friend, partner, casual for a more serious relationship. I do not care right now exactly what form it may take, as long as it satisfies me. I am on dating sites with poor luck so far. But, I am still mostly positive that I can still meet someone.

    You sound like the rest is mostly OK and that is wonderful. I do really understand the lonely part. I wish you the best of luck,

    Allie

  3. #3
    If only you could see me sarahcsc's Avatar
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    Hi Sarah,

    I know you said you are happy, but you are also 'running on empty'. So how can a happy person be running on empty at the same time? There is a difference between living a happy versus a meaningful life. Although these two concepts overlap sometimes, we can live unhappy but meaningful lives (just ask a surgical resident or new parents! haha).

    Transitioning has never been a happiness pursuit for me. I had to subject my body to numerous surgical and chemical alterations, not to mention the mounting medical bills and the upheaval it has caused within my social circle. I know that I will be a lot happier if I did not transition, but life would be meaningless. I can live without happiness as long as my life has meaning.

    I suspect you meant to say that your life is now meaningful, even though it isn't as happy as you'd hoped.

    That is fine, and that is to be expected. Running on empty is what a lot of desperate parents will say when trying to parent an obnoxious teenager. But they do it anyway because parenting gives them meaning and purpose (among many other things).

    So you want a pat on the back? *PAT PAT PAT* - there you go.

    Now get back out there and keep trying.

    Yours,
    S
    "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me" - Ayn Rand

  4. #4
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    Long ago, after a divorce that punctuated a long marriage, I asked my long-widowed mother how she dealt with loneliness. She observed that there is a difference between loneliness and solitude?and she enjoyed her solitude. I am somewhat that way myself.

    George Will recently published an essay entitled, The Pursuit of Happiness is Happiness , suggesting that happiness is found in and during the doing…even in the difficult and frustrating times. To apply my own twist to this, the pleasure of reading a good book is found in the reading, not completing the read. The book I have been promoting here recently, Dopamine Nation even suggests that dopamine highs come early in the pleasurable, often more with anticipation than realization of a desired experience, and this may contribute to the relative low we may feel after the thrill is gone.

    I recently bid a final farewell to a brother, one who sadly lived a long life of dissatisfaction. He was like any of us, with appetites, dreams and desires and often ill-laid plans and poorly realized results. In the end I suspect his unhappiness and the addictions that accompanied were rooted in his tendency to grab for happiness and gratification in the now, rather that endure and enjoy the curious pleasures of pursuit.
    Last edited by kimdl93; 09-20-2021 at 07:56 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Jeri Ann's Avatar
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    Hey Sarah,

    It is only fair to assume that you meant exactly what you said and you do not need definitions or clarifications to tell you what you meant. Assuming what you are thinking and feeling is not helpful.

    I can, however, identify with what you are going through. Transition is tough on so many levels. The cost is great and doors close. Like you I am older, single and oftentimes lonely. Life is tough without someone to share the joys, burdens, meals and conversations and it takes an emotional toll. Like you I have times when it feels like I can?t go on.

    This is not regret at all. Occasionally, in a moment of reflection and introspection, I will attempt to imagine myself back in my old life. I had a partner, family, friends, wealth, reputation and respect. It was a good life envied by many but inside I was dying and decaying. Never again do I want to feel that way again. Like you I am ?happy? with my life and transition. It doesn?t mean that I do not ?run on empty.?

    Like you, I have a lot of friends. Occasionally there is something that I cannot do by myself and I call on a friend to help. You learn to put things on hold until they can fit you in their schedule. You learn to plan ahead and hope something doesn?t come up. I have a medical procedure coming up and I do not know who will transport and be responsible for me. Maybe I haven?t even met that person yet.

    The pandemic makes it worse. It has eliminated opportunities to participate in life. It too would be more bearable with someone to go through it with you. Just company can make things better but the emotional intimacy that you mentioned would certainly be nice.

    We all deal with things differently and I will not tell you what you need to do. I will tell you that you are not alone. You are correct, it is not all rainbows and puppies and sparkles. You already have figured out what you need to do - assess, recalibrate and move on. It's what we do.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    Jeri Ann
    Last edited by Jeri Ann; 09-20-2021 at 02:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    I am where you are Sarah! Life is happy for me but no intimate time! No cuddling or holding/hugging! Well, my daughter lives with me and we share and talk but it is not the same! I still work part time, but there is no one there! I just go about shopping for groceries, to the pharmacy, pay bills, get gas in the car, etc. I go to my scheduled doctor appointments! Happy but "running on empty" I still go to my councilor because I feel I need to! Every once in a while gender dysphoria raises its head and I have to beat it down! Being pre-op with little hope for surgeries has its own frustrations and tears! I guess I'm just trying to say, you are not alone! sending love and hugs! Lana Mae
    Life is worth living!
    "Foxy lady! You look so good!!" Jimi Hendrix

  7. #7
    Silver Member Devi SM's Avatar
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    Sarah I can't say I completely understand you because I keep happily married with the same woman of last 42 years but things are not the same. She is no lesbian so that intimacy, sex has gone but at the end of the day I can count with her as we were doing before, I would say better than before because not hiding anything now but I can feel some loneliness too. So what I do?

    I suffered for so many years thinking and fearing on what I would lose of I would transition. I did it but I didn't lose all those things I was afraid of but I lose the that feeling of dreaming about being a woman. I'm one now.

    I keep my brain busy.

    As an example, as I still in electrolysis. Now electrolygist is working the most painful areas I was skipping for the pain but I found that I can entertain my brain doing other things that I like. I love learning so I keep bussy my brain watching some YouTube videos about what I'm doing, drones and other technical gadgets or reading or listening a podcast, soon the twoo torture hours come to and end.

    I'm a musician and I'm relearning to play saxophone. I did it in the pass for my own way but that made me Include bad habits on fingering or sound control, respiration etc. So I got a teacher and I'm relearning everything. I subject myself to this new discipline and method that keeps me bussy and I can see the progress. I'm sure I won't be a great and celebrate saxophone player but I can attempt it.

    I'm always reading one or two books at the same time.

    I can say that I'm full if projects and have no time to think on what I don't have or lost but what I'm going to have and win.

    I was a religious person, an scholar of the bible and that kept mind and life busy for more than 40 years
    Whan I left all that life was so empty and I fall in a kind of depression, dissapointed of all what I had believed all my life so I had to learn to live with a new "faith"...

    So what's my comment about it?

    We, as trans people, are in a privileged position of living lives that cis people can't and hardly can understand. Our challenges and experiences are bigger than the rest so we must show to the world we are not loosers but winners so do not give up.count your blessings, rise your head and live one day at time. Use you solitude and do the things you couldn't do with someone at your side. The time will bring some company and if not, at the end of the day you won't be bored, because you will be able to look back and watch your achievements, there will be some tears but so many had had seen an successful transwoman....

    Devi
    Instagram @devisanm, Facebook Devi San Martin
    HRT 04302018 Full time 03/2019
    Electrolysis on face started 08/2019, down there for SRS 06/2021
    Orchiectomy 06/03/2020
    Legal name and gender marker changed 10/26/2020

  8. #8
    Member jeri1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahcsc View Post
    Hi Sarah,

    I know you said you are happy, but you are also 'running on empty'. So how can a happy person be running on empty at the same time? There is a difference between living a happy versus a meaningful life. Although these two concepts overlap sometimes, we can live unhappy but meaningful lives (just ask a surgical resident or new parents! haha).

    Transitioning has never been a happiness pursuit for me. I had to subject my body to numerous surgical and chemical alterations, not to mention the mounting medical bills and the upheaval it has caused within my social circle. I know that I will be a lot happier if I did not transition, but life would be meaningless. I can live without happiness as long as my life has meaning.

    I suspect you meant to say that your life is now meaningful, even though it isn't as happy as you'd hoped.

    That is fine, and that is to be expected. Running on empty is what a lot of desperate parents will say when trying to parent an obnoxious teenager. But they do it anyway because parenting gives them meaning and purpose (among many other things).

    So you want a pat on the back? *PAT PAT PAT* - there you go.

    Now get back out there and keep trying.

    Yours,
    S
    Very well said. Transition is not about happiness to me neither. To me transition is about authenticity. It's about being me.

    Sarah, I will admit that it is a linely journey and that is why it is so important to have a solid support group to help you along. As you continue your transition, you will learn the new things that you need to learn. We're all in this together and remember that while you may feel alone, you're not.

    Hang in there and as the other Sarah said...here's your PAT on the back but now, its time to live as you really are. Transition doesn't happen just to make us lonely, transition is about living. Now, GO LIVE YOUR FULL LIFE.
    Jeri

  9. #9
    Aspiring Member OCCarly's Avatar
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    I’ve spent the pandemic (and a good chunk of my transition in the two years before, using social media to reconnect with the women I knew in high school 40 plus years ago. I didn’t consciously to do it. I just came out of the closet privately to those who were nice to me. Something magical happened. Suddenly I was one of them. Now they are my GIRLS. As in when one of them is in town we have GIRL TIME together — brunches, spa days, art gallery visits, just cool girl stuff.

    I learned the value of strong same gender friendships long ago. I’ve always had a guy or two to do guy stuff with, but having girls is how a lot of women socialize and survive the low times.

    I think learning how to socialize as a woman is an important part of transition, one that cis girls learn in childhood, but one that we need to learn as part of transition.

    Hugs, Carly
    Carries a spray bottle of "pink fog" around with her in her purse at all times.

  10. #10
    happy to be her Sarah Doepner's Avatar
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    Maybe "happy" was actually a poor substitute for "no longer carrying the anxiety of living a non-authentic life". It's rare that I even consider my gender as I move about my day and that's an incredible relief that allows me to notice all the other things in life hidden beneath that old anxiety. I've been getting out and although I'm still limited by Covid that just won't go away, I've been reconnecting with my inner circle of family and friends. That helps and has recharged the batteries a little at last, but it still leaves me alone a lot more than I need.

    I'm attempting to make new connections but it's difficult, I think partly because I'm not used to feeling quite this vulnerable and feeling as though I've not had the chance to learn to socialize as a woman (Carly nailed that one). The other continuing issue remains Covid, it's so difficult for me to make connections, meaningful or otherwise with others over Zoom. It's so hard to pick up cues from body language, for example, when all you can see is an often poorly lighted face. I'm still attempting to find others in my age range, most of the groups I've had contact with are filled with 20-40 year-olds, much younger and with very different life experiences than me. I'm attempting to get involved with a seniors group, but the coordinator remains unavailable.

    So I'm no longer running on empty, but I am running on hope and I'm getting some encouragement and that helps, even if it doesn't meet my long range needs. As I said earlier, I'm in reassessment and recalibration mode for now. Things will improve damnit or I'll go full Karen and demand to speak to the manager!
    Sarah
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.

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